NHL teams ‘getting bigger’ will be all the rage this summer


If comments made by new Calgary GM Brad Treliving and new Carolina director of hockey ops Mike Vellucci are any indication, size will be at a premium this offseason.

Treliving, named the seventh GM in Flames franchise history, made it clear the team needed to get bigger at his introductory press conference on Monday.

From the Calgary Sun:

“One hundred percent, I think we need to get bigger,” Treliving said. “That’s not just a personal preference. Turn on the TV today and watch the games.

“This is about winning a championship, and there’s steps along the way – we’ve got to take a lot of steps – in order to be there at the end, in order to build a championship, you do have to have a blueprint and you look at the games that are being played right now and it’s hard hockey, it’s heavy hockey.

“It’s a man’s game, a big boy’s game out there.”

Also on Monday, Vellucci spoke with the Raleigh News & Observer about his observations of the Hurricanes, and guess what?

Those thoughts are in lockstep with new ‘Canes GM Ron Francis, who said he wanted the same thing.

“You have to be able to skate, you have to be a fast team,” he said, per Sports Illustrated. “I like players who are smart, players who are skilled, players who absolutely love to compete. All things being equal, I would prefer a bigger player, that’s my own preference.”

This isn’t to suggest that getting big players is something new, or a revolutionary school of thought. It is worth noting, though, that four non-playoff teams — Carolina, Calgary, Vancouver and Washington — have recently made managerial changes and, upon being hired, the new guys in Calgary and Carolina immediately said they wanted to address a lack of size.

It’s really not that surprising. Out West, the California trio of San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim are all lauded for their ability to play fast, heavy hockey; in the East, Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston boasts two of the conference’s better power forwards in Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla, along with the NHL’s tallest player in Zdeno Chara.

Where it will get interesting, though, is in free agency and at the draft. With more and more teams seemingly going the way of the “get big” mentality, there might come a time where supply doesn’t meet demand — and that’s when trades can come into play. Would Winnipeg be willing to part with 6-foot-5, 265-pound Dustin Byfuglien? What about Phoenix and 6-foot-6, 230-pound Martin Hanzal? When it comes to size, not many come larger than those guys.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.